Opinion Former

Labour's plans for a real living wage would be life changing for many people

By Ian Hodson (BFAWU National President)

It's great news that a main stream political party recognises that by taking positive action to raise pay we can start to deal with the issues that relate to the hardship people are suffering. Other politicians and many in the media seem to think society will improve merely by seeking to blame this group or that one.

Pay and exploitative employment are the real problems faced in modern Britain and this announcement should be welcomed by all in our society. Well done Labour - £10 an hour will be life changing.

Our union has long argued that instead of our taxes being used to fill the bank accounts of wealthy business owners through the use of in-work benefits they should be used to pay for our NHS. By raising the minimum wage to £10 we can make sure that happens.

Families are often faced with a choice of which bill to pay or what food they can afford. These are working people trying to do their best but finding that affording the basics in today's Britain is only possible if you can work 60+ hours per week and in many cases doing 2 or 3 jobs. That's not right in the 6th richest country in the world.

£10 is life changing and will give families the chance to be exactly that, spending time together shouldn't just be for the wealthy. The children of all in our community should be able to spend time with Mum and Dad.

Hardship that we suffer hasn't been caused by migrants or by other poor people it's a result of employers choosing to pay low wages. Our society is suffering because pay is too low and many have to rely on in work benefits despite working for very profitable companies. Those companies are partly to blame for the huge rise in Britain's welfare bill. Making working people rely on benefits is a drain on our taxes and holding back our economy. 

Labour's plan to raise the minimum wage to £10 will overnight lift 5.6 million people out of poverty. That's what we expect from politicians, they should be improving lives not making them harder. Some will say the cost of living will go up, but the cost of living has continued to rise while pay has fallen. We see that every day in our supermarkets and in our energy bills.

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